It feels like New Orleans is coming out enough of a global pandemic and I hope that means you’re on your way there to help us eat all this food! Here is my list of the best restaurants in New Orleans updated for spring 2022. This is by no means an exhaustive list but these are some of my favorite places to belly up and chow down in the city. New Orleans is the kind of city that carries you away, and you should let it. Make a few reservations but let the winds take you where they may. There’s always an adventure to be found.
Here’s our list of spots from last year: New Orleans Spring 2021
And some recipes you can make in your own kitchen: My favorite New Orleans-inspired recipes
I’ve added links to my favorite restaurants below along with their Instagram accounts. Covid protocols and restaurant hours have been ever changing the past few years and Instagram is the best way to stay up to date and snoop any upcoming popups.
The Essential New Orleans Restaurants Worthy of the Hype:
• Addis Ethiopian Kitchen is one of just two Ethiopian restaurants in all of Louisiana and the food is incredible. Family-owned with so much warmth and kindness in the space. They also have vegan options and can take on dietary restrictions. (Addis on Instagram)
• If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Try your very best to get snag a reservation at Mosquito Supper Club. Melissa makes the best southern Louisiana food in all the city and her space encourages new friendships. It’s a very special place. (Mosquito Supper Club on Instagram)
• In New Orleans we love a long boozy lunch. I prefer a martini lunch or jazz brunch at the iconic Commander’s Palace. Being in the dining room is is a treat in itself and chef Meg Bickford sends beautiful food from that legendary kitchen. Dress nicely as there’s no turning up in t-shirts at Commander’s. The turtle soup and 25 cent martinis are classic menu items.
• I think the best fried chicken in town is at Willie Mae’s Scotch House. It’s a perfect lunch (please order the butter beans) followed by an afternoon nap before happy hour and a late dinner. (Willie Mae’s on Instagram)
• Dooky Chase is an institution and though we miss Mrs. Leah Chase immensely, the Chase family carries this restaurant so beautifully into the future. Sit in the storied dining room, you’ll be among legends.
• Absolutely yes, go to Cafe du Monde. Is Cafe du Monde better than Cafe Beignet? Well… there is no bad beignet in this city so have them all please along with a chicory cafe au lait.
• My favorite cocktails in the city are made by Chris Hannah and his team at Jewel of the South. Please also don’t leave without ordering the Eaton Mess – it is my absolute favorite dessert in the city!
• If you are visiting the French Market, stop by Loretta’s Authentic Pralines stall and pick up her legendary praline beignets. Miss Loretta unfortunately passed recently but her family is making sure her legacy lives on. (Loretta’s Authentic Pralines on Instagram)
My favorite places for crawfish in season:
In a perfect world we all head to our neighbors down the way just as they’re pulling out a fresh batch of boiled crawfish. Backyard boils are my favorite but not super helpful when it comes to the best restaurants in New Orleans. My second favorite place to enjoy a crawfish boil is at breweries across town. Sitting outside with a cold beer and a basket of spicy crawfish is a pretty perfect situation. Check out:
• Miel Brewery at the edge of the Irish Channel. They have a fantastic rotation of beers and varying food trucks and weekend crawfish boils. There’s always something new and delicious! (OH – and their merch is really cool.) (Miel on Instagram)
My favorite Po-Boys in New Orleans:
To be fair, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad po’boy in town. Insider’s tip: do not caution yourself against the po’boys at local gas stations – they’re the real heroes (pun intended).
• The Orange Store is a corner store on Rampart just east of the French Quarter. At the back you’ll find a window where you can order one of the best fried shrimp po’boy in town. I’ve been known to eat mine on the curb outside the store or walking down the road through the Marigny.
• Parkway Bakery is an institution. A place where locals and tourists meet. I love the catfish po’boy, the fried oyster variation, or the hot sausage patty po’boy. May I strongly encourage you to share a cup of gumbo before you sandwich, too. (Parkway on Instagram)
• Sammy’s Food Service and Deli might seem unassuming but they make my favorite hot sausage po-boy.
Best Wine Bar in New Orleans:
• My favorite wines (always as interesting by the glass as by the bottle) are found at St. Germain. Order the table salad and shrimp off the bar menu and post up in the backyard. Oh, if there are fries on the menu get them immediately. If you know how to play piano, play something at the piano in the bar and maybe if enough of us play it, one day they’ll tune it! (St. Germain on Instagram)
• Sneaky Pickle is a fantastic neighborhood restaurant that transforms into Bar Brine, a sweet wine bar and restaurant at night. You’ll find lots of delicious vegan options here you’ll enjoy all the same as if you’re not vegan. It’s the kind of place you can take your computer, work for an hour at lunch, and then order a cocktail to celebrate your hard work. It’s just feels good! (Sneaky Pickle on Instagram)
Where you’ll find me sitting at the bar alone for dinner:
I love a solo dinner with a book or with a new friend at the bar – and you can bet I’m not going out unless the food is bangin’. Here’s where you’ll find me:
• Seafood Sally’s has some of the best seafood in the city. Local ingredients plus locally sourced seafood, super fresh, coated and sometimes fried is super fun flavors. The staff also has great taste in music and a really lovely porch to dine on as the sun sets. It’s just a good ol’ time! (SS on Instagram)
Best Breakfast and Bakeries in New Orleans:
• Alma Cafe in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans has made it on my past lists and the story stays the same. Alma makes my favorite breakfast in the city. I highly recommend Baliadas Sencilla (one of their best dishes IMO) and a few strong cups of coffee. (Alma on Instagram)
My Favorite Neighborhood Bars:
By definition, the best neighborhood bar depends on the neighborhood you live in. One should be able to drink on the cheap sway home from said bar come Friday or Saturday night – that’s what I want from my neighborhood watering hole. The Marigny / Bywater is home to a dozen divey bars but my favorite are:
• Saturn Bar, strong drinks and live music many nights a week. I’m guilty of loving their very chill and welcoming karaoke night nights.
• Anna’s where I love to drink a Happy Hour salty dog and lose to someone at the pool table. The bar food is satisfying and you can pop in for a cold beer and FREE red beans and rice on Mondays. (Anna’s on Instagram)
Where the locals eat:
Mmmkay truth be told we eat everywhere, but here are a few of my favorites that I absolutely consider some of the best restaurants in New Orleans:
• Taqueria Guerrero Mexico Inc is my favorite place for authentic Mexican food. The soups are AMAZING. Hangover cure? I’m nodding my head yes BIGTIME.
• Budsi Thai is my go-to Thai food in town. The noodles are super flavorful and can be spiiiiicy (thank you!). I typically order to-go and have one of their craft cocktails at the bar while I wait for my food.
• Small Mart is the best mix of bagel sandwiches and vegan/vegetarian Indian food. I love their curry and chaat bowls. They’re very friendly and if you have food allergies or preferences they’re helpful and patient, amen.
• If you’re wandering the city on a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday afternoon, hit up the Crescent City Farmer’s Market. That’s where you’ll find the best strawberries in the country: Ponchatoula strawberries. Buy a basket, if nothing else.
Enjoy your time, friends! See you on Bourbon Street… I mean, probably not, but maybe. Be safe!